By Carl Joseph
The capture of a 5-foot boa constrictor at Horsford Hill, Liberta on Wednesday has stirred widespread discussion among residents many of whom are expressing their phobia of snakes which common to Antigua and Barbuda.
This capture came just three days after another boa constrictor was seen in the vicinity of Turtle Bay, also in Liberta.
The wildlife expert and conservationist who caught the snake was Marc Abbott of Abbott Farms.
“I’m usually the person 9-1-1 calls to respond to something like that,” Abbott told OBSERVER media yesterday. “I got a call from the Liberta Police Station, and they told me that there was a report of a snake in Liberta and they wanted me to go and capture it.”
The boa constrictor, not native to Antigua, was coiled around the branch of a tree on property on the top of Horsford Hill, which Abbott described as the estate “with the windmill”.
Abbott, accompanied then proceeded to remove the snake from the tree by angling it with a stick. When the snake fell to the ground, it immediately became agitated and aggressive.
Abbott said, however, that, “the snake did nothing out of the ordinary. I knew that once I went to trouble it, that it would have that type of reaction So, it was not something unexpected that it fired a bite at me.”
He explained that, when threatened, those types of snakes would tend to have a violent and defensive reaction.
“It’s not doing it because it sees me as food. They are not going to attack something my size for food. A snake that size wouldn’t probably even attack a cat, because a cat would still be too big,” he added.
Animals the size of small birds, rats and mice are what Abbott said that size of snake would look to for food in order to survive.
With the very cautious help of the police, the wildlife expert was eventually able to successfully angle the snake into a pillowcase.
The animal is now being caged at the Abbott Farms.
Asked what is next for the now-captured creature, Abbott said that he had met with the country’s chief veterinary officer and it was decided that the snake would remain with him.
“I’ve talked to the government vet, and because I captured it, I’m gonna get to keep it,” he said. “I’m not gonna let anyone just kill an animal that I capture.”
He explained that he will house the reptile in a cage that is bigger than the snake itself.
“It will be fed. It will have water, food… It will have a habitat for it to live in. And the cage will be about 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide. And, for a snake of that size, that would be very good.”
The wildlife expert indicated that the creature will not grow more than the habitat allows and will only require to be fed two small chickens per month.
With many people having a natural fear of snakes and similar creatures, Abbott sought to reassure the public that the type of boa he captured is more, “defensive than offensive. Whereas like a venomous snake will fire a bite at the first [sign] of any kind of danger, the boa will try to get away.”